Studio is largest CG facilities in the country

TORONTO — The Canuck animation biz has received a boost with Tuesday’s opening of Starz Animation Toronto, one of the largest CG facilities in the country.

The 45,000-square-foot studio is kicking off with Focus Features fantasy epic “9,” co-produced by Tim Burton, about rag dolls battling for civilization’s survival in a post-apocalyptic parallel world. Pic features the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer and John C. Reilly.

Shane Acker directs. Timor Bekmambetov and Jim Lemey are producing.

Starz Animation Toronto is a division of Burbank-based Starz Media, animator of “The Simpsons” and a division of Liberty Media.

The staff of 150 is headed by veteran animation exec David Steinberg, former director of production for Disney, who plans to double the studio’s size by the end of next year.

“Toronto is an animation powerhouse,” said Steinberg, exec VP-general manager of Starz Animation Toronto. “We are tapping into a city incredibly rich in animation talent, fed by world-class universities of art and technology,” he added.

“Starz Animation Toronto is a key piece of our strategy to be a full-service production and distribution company worldwide and to be a major presence in the Canadian entertainment business,” said Starz chairman-CEO Robert Clasen.

Starz Animation Toronto will also produce TV content and commercials and do live-action visual effects.

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